trans·​la·​tion | \tran(t)s-ˈlā-shən, tranz-\

Definition of translation 

1 : an act, process, or instance of translating: such as

a : a rendering from one language into another also : the product of such a rendering

b : a change to a different substance, form, or appearance : conversion

c(1) : a transformation of coordinates in which the new axes are parallel to the old ones

(2) : uniform motion of a body in a straight line

2 : the process of forming a protein molecule at a ribosomal site of protein synthesis from information contained in messenger RNA — compare transcription sense 3

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Other Words from translation

translational \ tran(t)s-​ˈlā-​shnəl , tranz-​, -​shə-​nᵊl \ adjective

Synonyms & Antonyms for translation


paraphrase, rephrasing, restatement, restating, rewording, translating


quotation, quote

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Examples of translation in a Sentence

She is working on a translation of the novel. a new translation of the Iliad There were English translations on the menu. the translation of economic power into political strength
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Recent Examples on the Web

Important factors often get lost in translation from Western states to government employees in Washington, D.C., Combs said. Brady Mccombs, The Seattle Times, "US official reiterates push to move land agency out West," 28 Aug. 2018 Quick, punctuation-less Internet comments leave plenty of room for things to get lost in translation and taken way out of context. Andrea Park, Teen Vogue, "Fans Accuse Pete Davidson of Being Insensitive on the Anniversary of Ariana Grande's Grandpa's Death," 23 July 2018 The episodic, zig-zagging, fable-like plot of Volcano will not appeal to all tastes, and some of the local references inevitably get lost in translation. Stephen Dalton, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Volcano': Film Review | Karlovy Vary 2018," 13 July 2018 Pause to ask yourself what is being lost in translation, and then find a solution., "We can’t afford to replace empathy with apathy," 10 July 2018 My server can then present this card to the chef, instead of having to regurgitate the list, which could result in the server forgetting to communicate a certain allergy or some other detail getting lost in translation. Kendra Chanae Chapman, SELF, "7 Things People With Food Allergies Have to Deal With Every Day," 10 July 2018 When that happens, inevitably things get lost in translation. Christopher Elliott, miamiherald, "Trip Mate denied my claim. Is there no hope for a refund?," 6 July 2018 Princeton’s Firestone Library, in those days open to the public, had some of his work in translation. Thomas Swick, Longreads, "Letters from Trenton," 5 July 2018 Instead, Amazon’s print divisions have largely exploited inefficiencies, publishing books (like works in translation) that are neglected by the large New York publishing houses. Audible’s success has begun to open that up. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Amazon’s Audiobook Boom," 2 July 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'translation.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of translation

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

14 Nov 2018

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The first known use of translation was in the 14th century

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English Language Learners Definition of translation

: words that have been changed from one language into a different language : words that have been translated

: the act or process of translating something into a different language

: the act or process of changing something from one form to another


trans·​la·​tion | \trans-ˈlā-shən \

Kids Definition of translation

: the act, process, or result of changing from one form or language into another


trans·​la·​tion | \tran(t)s-ˈlā-shən, tranz- \

Medical Definition of translation 

: the process of forming a protein molecule at a ribosomal site of protein synthesis from information contained in messenger RNA — compare transcription

Other Words from translation

translational \ -​shnəl, -​shən-​ᵊl \ adjective

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What made you want to look up translation? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


a private place of worship

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